Financial Flash Newsletter

August 2015 Edition

Kids Heading off to Work or College?

Whether it's off to work or off to college, parents put a lot of time and money into preparing their child to leave home, but often neglect the basic life skills associated with personal finance. Check out this checklist to set your young adult up for success on financial basics.
Learn more here.


Questions about Planning, Paying and Applying to College?

College Foundation of NC IDEA #1: Checkout
College Foundation of North Carolina is a FREE service of the State of North Carolina that provides resources and support to help students and their families. Free resources include planning timelines/checklists, ACT/SAT/GRE practice tests, student profile activity logs, career assessments, financial literacy tools, the college 'common application,' virtual college tours, and information on NC's 529 savings plan, scholarships, grants, loans... and more!

Women's Financial Empowerment CenterIDEA #2: Women's Financial Empowerment Center Class: "Going to College Without Going Broke" 
In this class, Laura Misner of College Foundation of NC, will help women learn about the mysterious world of financial aid, where to find scholarships, student loan forgiveness and repayment options, and avoiding scams targeted to students. All classes are held at OnTrack WNC offices: 50 S. French Broad Ave., Asheville, NC 28801. Choose from two convenient times:
- Thursday, August 20 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm OR
- Monday, August 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm  

Pre-registration required and space is limited.  Call 828-255-5166 today.


Welcome New Staff Members to the OnTrack WNC Team

We are excited to introduce you to our newest additions to OnTrack WNC. These team members are ready and willing to help you with quality counseling, education and client support.

  • Anna Smith will be providing information and support in counseling appointments and as an educator teaching workshops;
  • Amanda Orders joined our counseling team to provide action-based individual counseling sessions to people interested in managing their money and credit better.
  • Emily Matthews is a helpful and friendly "director of first impressions" in her role assisting callers with scheduling appointments and registering for classes. Since Emily is bilingual she is able to provide that extra level of assistance to our Spanish speaking callers.

    Click here to learn more.



OnTrack WNC's Homebuyer Education in Hendersonville - Hendersonville Times News, August 2, 2015 


Mark Your Calendars! 

2015 Women & Money Conference
Saturday October 10th 

9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Asheville 
5 Oak St., Asheville, NC 28806 
More information to come!


Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR 

In August our Money Matters radio show features Homeownership Topics. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings. Podcasts are available here.  

August 1st:  Laura Misner, Regional Representative with College Foundation of NC,
describes the free resources available through to help parents and students plan, apply and pay for college.

August 8th: Allison Jordan, Executive Director, and Greg Borom, Director of Advocacy, from  Children First / Communities in Schools  share the impact of poverty on children in our community and how the agency's work makes a difference for these families and our community.

August 15th: Roxann Sizemore, Buncombe County DHHS Adult Protective Services Supervisor, and John Cabe, retired Detective and member of the Buncombe County Sheriff's reserve unit, share important information and resources for recognizing and reporting adult financial exploitation.  

August 22nd: OnTrack WNC's Women's Financial Empowerment Center (WFEC) turns 5 years old this month! Tamara Lee, WFEC Coordinator and host Celeste Collins reflect on the past, present and future of this important community resource.

August 29th: What you don't know about your house CAN hurt you! Joe Farris, Licensed Inspector/Contractor with Farris Home Inspections, brings information and insights for homebuyers and homeowners on warning signs and what to do about them.

Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.


July 2015 Edition

Financial Freedom or Financial Freak Out? 

Financial Freedom QuoteThe term "financial freedom" resonates with people who have their financial systems in place, routinely save for both unexpected emergencies and periodic expenses, have a plan for covering children's college expenses, and are watching their retirement investments growing for the future.

For the rest of us, "financial freak out" starts at the mere mention of three to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund or the "what you'll need to retire" online calculators.

Ready for a change? Check out our education classes! You'll find everything from building a budget to building your credit; saving energy to saving money; paying for a home to paying for college, so call today so we can help you Rewrite Your Financial Story!

2015 Elder Financial Exploitation Summit: Your Role in Preventing & Reporting  

Celeste and Peter and DanOn June 3rd over 100 financial professionals, law enforcement officers, case managers and retailers attended the Summit to learn ways they can prevent financial fraud and exploitation, particularly with senior citizens. The event was kicked off by Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan who has supported the event for the last six years. Keynote speakers were Caroline Farmer, Consumer Protection Attorney with the NC Department of Justice, Peter Gwaltney, President of the NC Bankers Association (pictured at far right with OnTrack WNC board member Dan Anderson and executive director Celeste Collins). To plan and present the event, OnTrack WNC joined local agencies/ organizations including Land of Sky Regional Council, Buncombe County Sheriff office, the Better Business Bureau, and Council on Aging. For more information on preventing and reporting elder financial exploitation, see  

Grants and Sponsorships Help Us Serve Western NC!

As we begin our new fiscal year this month, we're celebrating important financial support that provides programs for people at every age and stage of life.

This month we're highlighting our grant support and our exclusive sponsors as a way to say THANK YOU for the investment in our work that helps us provide our services at no or low cost.

In addition to GRANTS from long-time funders, we're grateful for NEW grants including the Asheville Merchants Fund and the Perry N. Rudnick Fund, plus several financial institution foundations. Click here to learn more.

Our list of EXCLUSIVE SPONSORS continues to grow. 




Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR 

In July our Money Matters radio show features Homeownership Topics. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings. Podcasts are available here.  

July 4th: To celebrate Independence Day, Celeste Collins discusses Financial Freedom, trends in consumer borrowing, types of debt, and dealing with debt collectors.

July 11th: Dave Werle, CFP® with Starks Financial Group, offers tips for dealing with financial issues for aging parents, warning signs of a problem, and ways to have important conversations about finances.

July 18th: John Wingerter, Council on Aging of Buncombe County, joins us to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Medicare and share information about its contribution to the health and well-being of older adults.

July 25th: Jamie Beasley will introduce us to Wheels4Hope, an agency with the exciting mission of "Recycling Cars. Changing Lives."

Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.


June 2015 Edition

Is Homeownership in Your Future?

 houseIt's Homeownership Month! What better way to realize your dream of owning a home than to sign up for our comprehensive Homebuyer Program. The process of buying a home is complex and can be intimidating, especially for first-time home buyers. Our program's combination of education and counseling helps you build financial knowledge/tools for budgeting, saving, improving credit, to realize your dream of buying a home. Wherever you are in the homebuying process we'll provide the support you need to reach your goal of homeownership. Special thanks to TD Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo, PNC Bank and J P Morgan Chase for grant support and program sponsors Asheville Savings Bank, HomeTrust Bank, and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Learn more about Buying A Home. 

Check out this great Homebuying story from one of our clients!


OnTrack WNC's Homebuyer Team 

homebuyer teamOur housing counselors, educators, and program coordinators are ready to help you:
- Learn how much home you can afford
- Review your personal financial situation
- Create your homebuying plan
- Understand how to improve your credit
- Develop a plan to pay down debt, if necessary
- Understand Down Payment Assistance potentially available to you

Learn more about our staff

Learn more about our Homebuyer Program


Unsuccessful or Expensive Credit Repair
Does that describe your experience?

credit scoreCredit reports and credit scores are important in getting mortgages as well as other types of borrowing. We've heard stories of companies charging high fees to join their credit repair programs and high monthly fees for ongoing assistance. Often these programs offer "fixes" that you can do yourself for free. If you or someone you know has had a negative "credit repair" experience and would be willing to share your story to warn others, we'd like to hear from you!

Click here to contact Jonathan Stansell.


Mortgage Bankers Support Homeownership

Floppy the cowAnnually, the Mortgage Bankers Association of WNC hosts the Cow Flop Raffle to support OnTrack WNC Financial Education & Counseling and Mountain Housing Opportunities' Annual Ramp Festival. This year's Cow Flop provided $1,000 to support OnTrack WNC's Homebuyer Education Program. Thanks to the Mortgage Bankers Association and to everyone who bought a ticket! Pictured at left is Floppy, the cow who made Bill Moser this year's winner of the $500 grand prize.  




June Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR

In June our Money Matters radio show features Homeownership Topics. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings. Podcasts are available here.  

June 6th: To kickoff Homeownership Month, Celeste Collins reviews OnTrack WNC's Homebuyer Program which helps people realize their dreams of homeownership.

June 13th: Scott Dedman and Geoffrey Barton, Mountain Housing Opportunities, discuss the challenges of affordable housing and the role of manufactured housing.
June 20th: Bill Russell, State Farm Agent, explains home insurance and shares tips for choosing the right insurance at an affordable price. 

June 27th: Mortgage Loan Experts Jennifer Duvall, VP, Asheville Savings Bank, Christine Dozier, VP, HomeTrust Bank, and Jill Dotson, Loan Officer, HomeTrust Bank explain the process of shopping for the right home loan and factors lenders consider in qualifying borrowers for mortgages.
Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.   


Special e-news: Financial Literacy Luncheon - a great success!

2015 Financial Literacy Awards Luncheon Highlights

Once again, our annual Financial Literacy Luncheon was a huge success! On May 15th, nearly 200 people gathered at the Crest Conference Center & Pavilion to support OnTrack WNC's mission and recognize the 2015 Award Winners: Community Financial Literacy Partner Award, Buncombe County Government; Credit Where Credit Is Due Award, The Sisters of Mercy of NC Foundation; and the R.E.G.I.Volunteer of the Year Award, Sherman Fearing, tax volunteer.

We recognized three 2015 Clients of the Year in the agency's focus program areas: Susan Cain was recognized for Paying Down Debt; Mara Bone was recognized for Improving Credit; and Molly Sprengelmeyer was recognized for Buying a Home.

Thanks to sponsorships, ticket sales and in-kind contributions, the Financial Literacy Luncheon was a financial success, raising over $37,000. Thank you to everyone who contributed, sponsored and attended!

Click here to read more about the event and our award winners.

Click here to visit our Financial Literacy Luncheon photo gallery.  


OnTrack WNC 2014 Annual Report
Highlights Program and Financial Performance   

Click on image above to see our full 2014 Annual Report.  



April 2015 Edition

Are You At Risk For Identity Theft?  

Identity TheftThere is hardly a week that goes by without news of a security breach, data hack, or report of identity theft. Some data compromises are beyond your control, but there are some things you can do to protect your identity.

Click here to Test Your Identity Quotient.



Better Business Bureau FREE Shred Day
Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM 

FREE Shred DayWant to dispose of your confidential documents safely?  The Better Business Bureau (BBB), OnTrack WNC and American Security Shredding have the answer for you: the BBB "Shred Day/Secure Your ID" Day!  Bring up to 50 pounds of confidential information to the BBB's office at Executive Park - College Street parking lot in Asheville and take an important step to protect your identity.


Boost Your Financial IQ! Join Us For A Class!

Boost Your Financial IQIf you want to improve your financial knowledge, tools, and skills, in a fun, engaging, and informative group environment then you're at the right place. Thanks to our exclusive Adult Financial Literacy sponsor, HomeTrust Bank, our classes are offered free of charge. Come for a class and let our professional, informed, and energetic educators help you build skills to balance your budget, deal with debt, manage your money, improve your credit score and super-charge your savings.

Check out our upcoming classes and call today to register 828.255.5166.


There's Still Time: Volunteer for Mad City Money! 

Volunteer for Mad City MoneyAdults often say that more should be done to teach students about money and credit. Well, here's your chance! Mad City Money is coming up and we need volunteers. This fun, interactive program educates high school students on real-life financial management skills. Check out the excellent Asheville Citizen-Times article by Beth Walton in which she describes her experience as a Mad City volunteer (see "In the News" section below). Please volunteer for one or both of the upcoming Mad City Money events:
   - Asheville High School Tuesday, April 21
   - Buncombe County Early College Tuesday, May 19.

Learn more about Mad City and the specifics of the volunteer opportunity. 




April Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR  

Our Money Matters radio show features local guest experts with financial tips and insights. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM. Podcasts are available here.

April 4th: Norma Messer of the Asheville Better Business Bureau, shares tips for the week of "April Fools' Day" to help you avoid being fooled by the latest frauds, scams and identity theft schemes.

April 11th:
Smart Start of Buncombe County's Ariel Ford, Andy Gibson, and Michelle Dixon,offer statistics and insights for understanding childcare issues and expenses in our community.

April 18th: Tom Luzon, OnTrack WNC's Director of NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund, reviews the mortgage payment assistance available for people who are experiencing temporary financial hardships to pay their mortgage payments while they search for a job or retrain for a new career. 

Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.


March 2015 Edition

Dreaming of Buying a Home? Start Here! 

Dreaming of Buying a HomeThis month kicks off our NEW comprehensive Homebuyer Program which combines education and counseling to help you build financial knowledge/tools for budgeting, saving, and improving credit to realize your dream of buying a home. We'll meet you where you are in the homebuying process and support your journey toward homeownership. Special thanks to TD Charitable Foundation and JP Morgan Chase for grant support of this important program expansion.

Learn more about Buying A Home.


OnTrack WNC's Homebuyer Program Matters!
Patricia Waters - Homeowner

Patricia Waters' journey illustrates the powerful difference our Homebuyer Program makes in helping people realize their dreams of homeownership.

Patricia was diligent and committed as she learned and saved toward buying a home. She was willing to sacrifice, too. In fact, she even moved back in with her parents to be able to maximize her ability to save money toward her goal!  

Learn more here.



Special Enrollment Period for Health Insurance
March 15 - April 30, 2015

CMS.govThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a special enrollment period for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or "shared responsibility payment" when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM).

Learn more here.




Cow Flop for Affordable Housing -
Saturday, April 25th @ 11:00 AM    
Cow Flop

What do a Saturday morning in the mountains, a wandering cow in a pasture, and affordable homeownership have in common?  They are all part of the Mortgage Bankers Association of WNC (MBA of WNC) Cow Flop fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2015. The MBA of WNC hosts the Annual Cow Flop Raffle to support OnTrack WNC's Homebuyer Education Program and Mountain Housing Opportunities' (MHO) Ramp Festival. Stop by our office at 50 S. French Broad Ave., Suite 227 in Asheville to get your $5 ticket today. Learn more click here


Calling All Volunteers - Mad City Money 

Mad City Money VolunteerMad City Money is a fun, interactive program which educates high school students on real-life financial management skills. Volunteers are needed to staff merchant tables and help the students navigate the real-life financial choices adults make every day. Volunteer for one or both of the upcoming events: Asheville High School Tuesday, April 21 and Buncombe County Early College- 5th year students Tuesday, May 19. Learn more about Mad City Money and the specifics of the volunteer opportunity


Upcoming April News

- Start Smart Wage Negotiation Training for Women: Tuesday, April 14th from 12:00 - 3:00 pm at the YWCA in Asheville in recognition of Equal Pay Day. Sponsored by the YWCA of Asheville, Just Economics and OnTrack WNC's Women's Financial Empowerment Center. Space is limited. Click here to learn more.

- Shred Day/Secure Your ID Day: Saturday, April 18th at the Executive Park - College Street parking lot, Asheville, from 9am-1pm. Sponsored by the Better Business Bureau, American Security Shredding, and OnTrack WNC.

- YMI Communities of Color, Town Hall Forum: (rescheduled from February) Thursday, April 30th, 6:00 - 8:30 pm at the YMI Cultural Center in downtown Asheville. Click here for more info. 


March Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR  

Our Money Matters radio show features local guest experts with financial tips and insights. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM. Podcasts are available here.

March 7th: Jane Hatley, Self Help Credit Union, and Franzi Charen, Asheville Grown Business Alliance, describe the informative presentations and resources available at the "Bringing It Home" conference Wednesday March 18.

March 14th:
Jonathan Stansell, New Program Development and Homebuyer Program Manager,highlights OnTrack WNC's NEW Homebuyer Program and explains how we can help people realize their dream of homeownership.

March 21st: Bill Russell, State Farm® Agent, joins Celeste for a special presentation and shares insurance insights to help you evaluate your needs and coverage.   

March 28th: Diana Sierra, YWCA, and Vicki Meath, Just Economicsdiscuss Equal Pay Day, the gender pay gap, and encourage participation in the Start Smart Wage Negotiation Training on April 14th.

Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  


February 2015 Edition

Relationship Financial Stress Can't Be Cured with a Box of Chocolates! 

relationship quoteFebruary's the month of Valentine's Day and romance, but for many couples disagreements about money are the biggest stressors in their relationship. If this describes you, read about steps you can take here.

Listen to the Money Matters 2/14/15 podcast here




Tax Time Can Equal Scam Time! website

Watch out! The IRS has seen a surge of aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents. These scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. Read more here to learn warning signs and how to protect yourself.




Join Us for YMI Town Hall Forum   

YMI sponsorsCommunities of Color:
Exclusionary Housing, the Unbanked and Underbanked

This event includes a local panel and special presentation of UNC Chapel Hill's "Inclusion Project" by Managing Attorney Mark Dorosin, from UNC Chapel Hill Civil Rights Center.
Learn more here

Listen to the Money Matters podcast 2/21/15 here


Save The Date! OnTrack WNC's Annual Financial Literacy Luncheon - Friday, May 15, 2015

Financial Literacy Luncheon photo

Mark your calendar TODAY! Watch your mailbox in April for our invitation.

Morning Seminar: 10am - 11:15am
Luncheon & Awards: 11:30am - 1:00pm






February Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR

Our Money Matters radio show features local guest experts with financial tips and insights. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM. Podcasts are available here.

February 7th: Laura Misner, College Foundation of NC, explains how CFNC helps you Plan, Apply and Pay for college. Learn about this wonderful FREE resource and don't forget FAFSA Day Saturday, February 28th.

February 14th:
Sara Bensman, of Sara Bensman Mediation & Consulting, provides a Valentine's Day show full of helpful insights and tips for having those stressful money conversations with our partner or spouse.

February 21st: Sharon West and Monique Taylor provide a preview of the upcoming YMI Town Hall Forum: Communities of Color on Thursday 2/26 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Learn more here.  

February 28th: Sara Shuster and Donna Cottrell, The Hope Chest for Women, introduce this important local resource which helps relieve some of the burdens created by the cost of breast or gynecological cancer treatment.  

Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.  


January 2015 Edition

New Year's Resolution to Get Out of Debt? OnTrack WNC can help YOU succeed! 

Most years, "getting out of debt" ranks in the top ten most popular resolutions. Regardless of whether credit card debt accumulated over several years or as a result of unexpected financial emergencies, high interest and monthly payments can strain your family finances. OnTrack WNC's Debt Management Plan can help you realize your dream of becoming debt-free.


NEW "Tax Refund Save to Win" for 2015

Tax Time: Those two words conjure up mixed feelings --- the dread of filing taxes and the hope of a big refund! In our seven years as an IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site, we've helped low-income taxpayers file over 5000 tax returns for over $6 million in refunds! For years Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP has been a leading sponsor of our Tax Project and, in 2015, with their help we are launching a new, innovative program to help clients start an important financial behavior - SAVING.    

Learn more here 


B-R-R-R, It's Cold Outside! Take Steps to Lower Your Utility Costs  

Don't miss the Energy Efficiency Class on Tuesday, January 27th from 5:30 - 7:30 PM at our Asheville office. In this information-packed workshop instructor Matt Siegel, former Director of WNC Green Building Council, explains affordable energy upgrades -- from simple to more extensive -- that will save you money.  At the end of class, you can select energy saving materials and tools to make use of your new knowledge immediately! Most participants can expect to achieve a 30% savings in their utilities by implementing ideas learned in class. Thanks to The Biltmore Company's sponsorship, this class is offered FREE of charge! Space is limited so call today to register: 255-5166 or 1-800-737-5485.


SPECTACULAR Year-End Simple as 1, 2, 3! 

Thank you for the wonderful response to our request for contributions at the end of 2014. Here are highlights from "Giving is as Simple as 1-2-3!"

- Board and Community contributions to our ongoing Program Support were over $15,000! Our best year-end EVER!  
- Our Endowment received a $10,000 contribution from Dawn Starks and Starks Financial Group, bringing our endowment total to $133,000! 
- Many gifts included notes of gratitude describing how our counseling and education have helped people rewrite their financial stories. We are honored and thankful that our services have made a transformational difference in their lives.  

To all our donors, we say THANK YOU! We will continue to work diligently to live up to the trust you have put in us by investing in our mission! 




January Money Matters - ON-THE-AIR  

Our Money Matters radio show features local guest experts with financial tips and insights. Listen to WWNC 570AM on Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM. Podcasts are available here.

January 3rd: Matt Siegel, Former Director, WNC Green Building Council, shares energy efficiency tips that will translate into money-savings for 2015. Don't forget to register for January's Energy Efficiency Class.

January 10th:
Gretchen Batra, AARP Volunteer, offers warnings, alerts and stories to protect older adults from devastating fraud and scams.

January 17th: Victor Moore, Foreclosure, Debt & Counseling Systems Specialist, shares strategies for getting out of debt in the new year, including OnTrack WNC's Debt Management Program. 

January 24th: Mike Byer and Mike Rash,Mike Byer Auto & Truck, help you plan maintenance and service to keep your vehicle running in these cold winter months.
January 31st: Nyda Bittman-Neville, CEO and President is an international image and brand doctor and prescribes the meds for a successful strategy to market and communicate effectively for both individuals and companies, thus creating the desired brand.

Thanks to generous grant support from State Farm®, Money Matters is broadcast  on WWNC 570AM every Saturday morning from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.   


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